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Anything can be a holy path, says Kayleen,
and I begin to trace the outline of my left hand
with my right index finger, following
the familiar shape, surprised
at how intimate it is, this tiny tactile journey
 
of wrinkles and knuckles, fingers and thumb—
I close my eyes and my finger continues
to slowly travel the tips and webs, rises
and vees, a labyrinth of skin and nail
I navigate through touch.
 
How many years have I avoided knowing
myself as holy? How many days
have I desecrated this temple of flesh
and breath with belittling thoughts?
How many hours have I resisted the pleasure
 
I feel now as I explore this fleeting path,
this haptic trail steeped in awe?
Perhaps science could explain away
this divine excursion as nothing more
than a series of electrical impulses
 
moving at eighty feet per second
through my neural infrastructure,
but somehow knowing how the body works
makes this gentle path I choose today
even more oh! more holy.
 
 
 
*quote from Kayleen Asbo in “Blessing Thread: Wales and Ireland,” an online class
 
 

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Before you were born,

your hand had more muscles,

for instance the dorsometacarpales,

a reptilian remnant, an atavistic relic

from when all blood was cold blooded.

By the time you were thirteen weeks

in utero, a third of the muscles

in your hands and feet had fused

with other muscles. Your body

simply deleted them, proof

that before we are born,

before we are ready

to inhabit our forms,

we are in some ways

made less complex.

I think of this now as I open my hand

for your hand, think

of how much things change.

How once we had fins, then claws.

And now, look at us,

with hands that might caress,

might soothe, might reach.

God, this impulse to be warm.

And I think of how sometimes,

growth means to become more simple.

This is my prayer. To do

what the nascent body can do:

to remember where I came from,

to streamline, to know what is needed,

to know what to let go.

https://earthsky.org/human-world/Evolutionary-remnants-muscles-human-embryos

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Spiraling Tanka

here, darling, here
is my so open hand, waiting
for you to write
a thousand secrets, your tears,
your scent, your hum the ink

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